Poets & Writers

Telling #Stories

CAN SOCIAL MEDIA MAKE US BETTER WRITERS?

IT USED to be that after a writer felt the spark of inspiration, she refined her idea in a period of incubation and reflection. She sat alone wrestling with her mind, wrangling phrases and plotlines and insight out of a chaos of ideas until she had something coherent, meaningful, beautiful, evocative, or affecting to share. She edited her work, and then others did, before it went out to the public.

Now, almost as soon as an experience is had or insight flickers half-grasped, the impulse is to post a photo on social media, particularly Instagram, with a mini-essay caption to make quick wisdom and insta-meaning in service of clicks, likes, followers, and a steady online presence applauded by agents and publishers. What once might have been given weeks or years to develop into an essay or book can now be shared after five to ten minutes of photo editing and punchy writing. An agonizing process of deep work in isolation can be eschewed by posting a musing, a question, a little zygote of an essay on social media; within minutes the writer receives praise, shares, reinterpretations, questions, and—significantly—the flood of dopamine

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